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Consultation on the Primary Curriculum now open

Consultation on the Primary Curriculum now open

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Glossary of Action Verbs

This glossary is designed to clarify the learning outcomes of the Level 1 Learning Programme. Students can achieve learning outcomes at any of the progression pathways in a way that suits their individual learning journey. Appropriate levels of adult support for each task will be determined by the teacher, the student’s family and other professionals according to the individual needs of each student.

Action verb

Within the context of their individualised learning journey, students should be able to…


tolerate/allow an interaction or experience


change behaviour in some way (gesture/eye gaze/vocalisation/speaking) to demonstrate an awareness of the presence of a person, object or stimulus


demonstrate an awareness of/predict what will happen next


direct attention (visual/tactile/auditory) to focus on a person, object or stimulus


demonstrate understanding of a concept (e.g. object permanence—look for hidden object) or indicate the knowledge of the existence of a person, object or stimulus

Behave appropriately

act in a way that is expected in the surroundings/activity (e.g. sit with the class group at a table for snack while visiting a café). Teachers will determine what behaviour/role is appropriate for each student in different settings, considering their sensory, physical, emotional and cognitive processing strengths and needs.

Choose/Make choices

indicate a preference from given options using any text*


adapt behaviour in a variety of ways including, but not limited to: vocalising, gesturing, moving eye gaze or use of text to convey a message


work with/willingly accept support from an adult or peers for a specific purpose


be involved in the process of making something new


behave in such a way as to display an awareness, skill or understanding


demonstrate an awareness of a difference between things/people (e.g. a student may behave differently when there is a new teacher in the room)


find/notice, something new, information about an object, stimulus, place or person


become involved in a task/process (through looking, touching, smelling, listening or tasting)


clearly display a behaviour/response


trial or explore an activity/object in a variety of ways, with the potential of acquiring new learning


use the senses (in terms of touch, taste, sound, sight etc) to inquire into an item/concept/activity. The student may make new discoveries during this process.


convey a feeling, opinion or message through any text*/reactive changes in behaviour


adhere to rules/conventions specific to an environment or activity (e.g. slowing down from a run to a walking pace in a supermarket in response to the teacher giving the instruction verbally and showing a ‘walking’ symbol)


be involved in any way with the process of collecting items


explore an item through touching/feeling it in some way. This may involve body parts other than the student’s hands (e.g. feeling fur rubbed on their arm/cheek) if necessary to support the student’s physical or sensory needs.


locate and/or specify who or what a person, object or stimulus is. This may be communicated using any text*.


display/show a response or behaviour as outlined in the learning outcome


change behaviour in a way that identifies/communicates a response to an object, person, environment or stimulus using any text*. This may or may not be intentional communication (e.g. crying in response to a loud noise).


start something. A student that initiates a communication/interaction with someone may do so in a wide variety of ways including seeking eye contact, reaching out to the person, vocalising or touching a familiar object of reference. The student may or may not have an awareness of joint attention in communication yet so may not look at the adult while behaving in these ways.


experience having an effect and/or being affected by an exchange with another person


get to know more about an item, environment, person or stimulus through sensory exploration and examination (e.g. feeling/banging/listening to/smelling/squeezing)


focus auditory attention on the experience of sounds. Students may not always pay visual attention to the sound source.


form an association between/connect two or more items, people, stimuli or actions


visually attend to something. Some students may use their peripheral vision/an alternative area in their visual field to attend to an item.


indicate an awareness of/identify a connection between items with common or identical features, meaning or qualities


change position in space with or without support


show an awareness of and adhere to rules or visually notice/attend to a person, activity or stimulus


demonstrate any type of involvement in the learning activity


perform/take part in a process, game or activity


repeatedly rehearse a skill or action. Students may show signs of improvement over a period of time.


indicate an awareness/knowledge of what will come next based on previous learning and experiences (e.g. when the teacher reaches into a bag of props at a certain point in a familiar story, the student reacts by screwing up and moving their face in anticipation of a water spray that is used at this point of the story).


extract meaning from and demonstrate understanding of any form of text (e.g. looking at an object of reference for ‘snack’ then immediately turning head towards the snack cupboard expectantly)


show an awareness and recognition of past events (e.g. smiling when shown a video of an activity enjoyed that morning/identifying photographs of props used regularly to tell a familiar story)


demonstrate understanding of/familiarity with a person, context, object or stimulus from previous experiences. The student may be able to use knowledge, gained from previous experiences, to identify a person, context, object or stimulus.


use any text* to express a desire or need (e.g. pressing a BIGmack switch to request more bubbles to be blown)


clarify/improve a skill


change behaviour in some way (movement/shift in eye gaze/respond verbally/communicate through text/demonstrate emotions etc) in reaction to something or someone


search for/look out for something. This requires the student to focus their attention on the activity/task with intention and purpose.


express awareness, understanding, knowledge or feelings through actions


allow/accept an experience. The student may still appear hesitant or unsure due to the challenges they face during such an experience (e.g. being sensitive to sounds in a noisy room) but they will allow for the experience to occur, even for a brief period.


apply sensory awareness/skills/learning to a practical setting for a given function

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